The Catholic University of America

Guide to Collection and Resources


Federal & State Law
Case Digests
Legal Encyclopedias
Shepard's Citations
Statutory Materials
Administrative Materials
Periodicals & Periodical Guides
Treatises & Other Materials
Computer-Assisted Legal Research



1. U.S. Reports (Official) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 223A] is the official government edition of Supreme Court decisions.
2. Supreme Court Reporter (West) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 224A] & U.S.Reports, Lawyers Edition (Lawyers Co-op.) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 224B] are unofficial reporters containing the same text of the opinion as the official U.S. Reports.
3. U.S. Law Week [Main Floor (Floor Two), Circulation Desk) is a weekly publication which is the first printed source for the full text of a new Supreme Court opinion.
4. U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (Government Documents Room, Room 330, Floor Three) is a microfiche collection of records and briefs of cases argued before the Court since the 1974 term.
1. Federal Cases [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 225A] contains significant federal court opinions to 1880.
2. Federal Reporter [Main Floor (Floor Two, Aisles 225A] contains Federal District Court and Court of Appeals decisions from 1880 to 1931. After 1931, the Federal Reporter,Second Series and Third Series contain primarily Court of Appeals decisions.
3. Federal Supplement [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 228A] primarily reports U.S. District Court opinions from 1931 to the present.
4. Specialty Federal Courts:
  • a. West's Bankruptcy Reporter (KF/1515/.A2W4, Floor Three)
  • b. U.S. Claims Court Reporter (KF/125/.C5, Floor Three)
  • c. West's Military Justice Reporter (KF/7605/.A2W4, Floor Four)
  • d. West's Veteran's Appeals Reporter (KF7055.A2W4, Floor Four)
5. Federal Rules Decisions [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 230a) reports significant cases interpreting the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure.
The National Reporter System is a comprehensive reporter of decisions of state appellate courts. It is divided into seven regional reporters which group together the decisions of contiguous states. New York and California have separate reporters. The regional units of the National Reporter System are as follows:
1. Atlantic Reporter  (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 429B - 431A)
        Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

      2. California Reporter (Floor Four, KFC/47/.C32)

      3. New York Supplement  (Floor Four, KFN/5045/.A33)
      4. North Eastern Reporter . (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 431A - 432B)
        Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.

      5. North Western Reporter (Floor Four, Compact Shelving Aisles 432B - 433B)
        Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

      6. Pacific Reporter (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 434B - 435B)
        Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

      7. South Eastern Reporter  (Floor Four, Compact Shelving Aisles 436A - 436B)
        Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

      8. South Western Reporter  (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 437A - 438B)
        Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

      9. Southern Reporter (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 439A - 440A)
        Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The law library has all official state reports which predate the National Reporter System. In addition, the collection includes a significant number of official reports since the National Reporter System began in 1887. All bound state reports are located with the other state materials between the call numbers KFA and KFW on Floor Four of the library. Some official state reports are available in microform.


Case digests are comprehensive indexes to court reports at both the federal and state level. The most extensive of these research sources are the "Key Number Digests" produced by the West Group. They provide organized and consistent index access to all reported decisions. The major components of this digest system are detailed below:
The American Digest System [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 240-242] is the most comprehensive digest of American case law. It is divided into several units, each covering cases from all American jurisdictions for that time span.
1. The Century Digest (Aisle 240A) covers the period to 1896.
2. The Decennial Digests (Aisles 240B-243) continues the Century Digest. Each Decennial covers a ten-year period.
3. The General Digest (Aisle 243) begins where the latest Decennial ends and brings the system up to date.
The federal digests listed below index decisions from the three levels of the U. S. court system: Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeal, and District Courts.
1. United States Supreme Court Digest (West Publishing) and United States Supreme Court Digest: Lawyers Edition (Lawyers Co-op.) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 236A] includes only Supreme Court cases.
2. Federal Digest System [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 236B-239]:
a. Federal Digest (Aisle 236B) covers 1754 to 1939.
b. Modern Federal Practice Digest (Aisles 236B-237A): 1939 to 1961.
c. West's Federal Practice Digest,2d (Aisles 237A-237B): 1961 to 1975.
d. West's Federal Practice Digest,3d (Aisle 238): 1975 to 1984.
e. West's Federal Practice Digest,4th (Aisles 238B-239): 1984 to date.
Regional digests index the case law of the jurisdictions reported in the regional unit of the National Reporter System which they accompany.
1. Atlantic Digest. (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisle 429A).
2. North Western Digest. (Floor Four, Compact Shelving Aisle 429A).
3. Pacific Digest. (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisles 429A - 429B).
4. South Eastern Digest (Floor Four, Compact Shelving, Aisle 429B).
The North Eastern Digest, the Southern Digest , and the South Western Digest are no longer published.
The law library maintains all of the state digests that West publishes. Individual state digests can be found on Floor Four with the library's collection of state reports. There are no individual state digests for Delaware, Nevada or Utah. Delaware cases are summarized in the Atlantic Digest, while cases from Nevada and Utah are summarized in the Pacific Digest.


1. Corpus Juris Secundum [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 221A]
2. American Jurisprudence, Second [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 222A]
B. The AMERICAN LAW REPORTS System [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 220B]
The American Law Reports system (A.L.R.) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 222A] is published by Lawyers Cooperative. While A.L.R. is technically classed as a selective law reporter, in actual practice it operates much like an encyclopedia. The A.L.R. annotations explore a narrow point of law in great detail. The A.L.R. system consists of five series. The First, Second, and Third series cover state law issues from 1919 to 1979 and federal law issues from 1919 to 1969. Since 1969 federal topics are contained exclusively in A.L.R. Federal. In addition, a Fourth and Fifth series continues the numbered series and deal exclusively with state law issues. It is important to realize that a subsequent series does not replace an earlier one, although some of the individual articles may be superseded or supplemented by one published in a more recent series.
The easiest way to locate annotations in the A.L.R. system is to use the topical Index to Annotations. The first series is kept current by the Bluebook of Supplemental Decisions. A.L.R.2d is updated by the Later Case Service. A.L.R.3d, A.L.R.4th, A.L.R. 5th and A.L.R. Federal are kept current by pocket parts at the back of each volume.
C. WORDS AND PHRASES[Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 221b].
Words and Phrases helps locate cases defining particular legal terms and phrases. In effect, it is a massive (90 volumes) legal dictionary .
State encyclopedias limit themselves to the law of one or a few states. Only the larger states offer a sufficient market for the publication of a state legal encyclopedia. Check COLUMBO, the law library's online catalog for the library's holdings.


Shepard's citator's most important function is to provide individual case histories. Each citation indicates whether a case has been affirmed, reversed, followed, distinguished, etc. There are many different Shepard's citators. Each is designed to be used with a particular case reporter or code. The various Shepard's citators in the law library collection are listed below:
1. Shepard's U.S. Citations. Case Edition.
2. Shepard's U.S. Citations. Statute Edition.
3. Shepard's U.S. Citations. Administrative.
4. Shepard's Acts & Cases by Popular Name.
5. Shepard's Code of Federal Regulations Citations.
6.Shepard's Federal Citations.

 Lexis offers Shepard's information in a very convenient automated format. The systems display parallel citations, the history of a cited case and the treatment accorded it by subsequent cases. Shepard's is especially convenient to use online because the information displayed is cumulative.
 Westlaw offers an equivalent citator, called KEYCITE, on its system.


1. Statutes At Large [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 219A] contain the laws enacted by each session of the U.S. Congress.
2. Codes
        a. U.S. Code [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 218A] is the official federal code.
        b. U.S. Code Annotated [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 218A], published by West, and U.S. Code Service [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 218B], published by Lawyers Cooperative, contains the full text of the statutes and extensive annotations which digest cases interpreting the code section.
      3. Aids to Federal Legislative Research
a. U.S. Code, Congressional & Administrative News [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 219B] provides "thumbnail" legislative histories of congressional acts and reprints the Statutes at Large.
b. Congressional Record provides a report of the debates of Congress. The library has the entire collection of the Congressional Record. The more recent volumes are in hard copy and the older volumes are on microform. All are located in (or immediately outside of) the Government Documents Room (Room 330).
c. Congressional Information Service [Room 330, Floor Three] is a valuable indexing and abstracting tool for congressional publications since 1970. The online version, Congressional Universe, is available here.
d. Congressional Documents (Government Documents Room, Room 330, Floor Three). The law library has a large collection of congressional documents on microform.
e. Congressional Index (Government Documents Room, Room 330, Floor Three) is an excellent reference for background information on current bills which have not yet become law.
All state codes are located on Floor Four between KFA and KFW. State session laws are on microfiche and are located in the microform area in room 330.


1. All rules and regulations of federal administrative agencies first appear in the Federal Register, which is published daily by the Government Printing Office. The law library has the complete backfile of the Federal Register (from 1936) in microform in room 330 on Floor Three. The individual copies of the current year are on the Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 220B.
2. The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 220A] is a codification of the rules and regulations which appear in the Federal Register. The C.F.R. arranges these rules under 50 titles or topics. Within each title, there are numerous subtopics called parts. These volumes are revised annually. Changes in the regulations since the publication of the last annual volume of the C.F.R. are listed in the List of CFR Sections Affected. The L.S.A. will indicate any changes in the regulations and gives the Federal Register cite of the change.
The entire backfile of the C.F.R. is available n microform in room 330.
Like court reports, the decisions of administrative agencies are published chronologically. There is no comprehensive digest for these opinions. Some administrative agencies do provide a digest or index to their opinions, but most do not. One form of access to these opinions is consulting a looseleaf reporting system that covers the subject matter of a particular agency. For example, the National Labor Relations Board decisions are abstracted, indexed, and reported in the Commerce Clearing House and Bureau of National Affairs looseleaf labor law reporting services. Another way to gain access to decisions of administrative agencies is through one of the specialized libraries of Lexis or Westlaw.
The law library contains the decisions of most federal administrative agencies, either in bound volumes, on microfiche or in full text on  Lexis or  Westlaw.


Legal periodicals (law reviews, bar association magazines, and specialized legal journals) provide in-depth, scholarly analysis of legal problems.
The law library subscribes to more than 700 legal periodicals. All legal periodicals are located on the Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisles 214 - 234. Many journals are available on microfiche. Ask a circulation or reference librarian for information about the microform collection.
1. Current Law Index[Main Floor (Floor Two), Reference] thoroughly indexes legal periodicals from 1980 to date by topic or author. It's also available online (Infotrac / Legaltrac). The online version can be used on campus only. For off-campus use, sign onto Westlaw or Lexis (LRI database on Westlaw and the LGLIND file on Lexis).
2. The Index to Legal Periodicals (I.L.P.) [Main Floor (Floor Two), Reference] is a legal periodical index that dates back to 1908, and is particularly useful for journal articles published before 1980. It is available in electronic format from 1980 forward here. The online version can be used on campus only. For off-campus use, sign onto Westlaw or Lexis (ILP database on Westlaw and in the ILP file on Lexis).
3. Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals [Main Floor (Floor Two), Reference] is arranged like the I.L.P. but surveys foreign law journals. An online version is available here. The online version can be used in the library only.
4. LexisNexis allows full-text access to many daily and legal newspapers. Newspapers and other periodical literature in available on Westlaw in its news databases (for use by current CUA law students, faculty and staff only).
1. Shepard's Law Review Citations [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 235] indicates court opinions which cite a desired law review article.
2. Shepard's Federal Citations in Selected Law Reviews [Main Floor (Floor Two), Aisle 235] lists references in the articles appearing in 20 selected law reviews to federal court cases.
HeinOnline, Lexis  and  Westlaw  contain the full text of major law reviews. The content of these files change rapidly. Check the online menu to determine current coverage. While these files are constantly growing, they contain only a fraction of all the law review articles available in hardcopy on the library's main floor (Floor Two), aisles 201-217.


Treatises are single or multi-volume works which explain in detail a particular subject area of the law. The most popular of the single-volume treatises--commonly known as "hornbooks"--are kept on reserve behind the circulation desk.
Most of the multi-volume treatises are kept on Floor Three of the law library and are grouped together by call numbers with other materials which concern that subject area. COLUMBO, the law library's online catalog, is the best guide to the library's holdings in these subject areas.
The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, [Main Floor (Floor Two), Reference], the most comprehensive directory of the legal profession, lists lawyers and law firms in the United States by state. It contains biographical information on individual lawyers and information on the firms. The last volumes of Martindale-Hubbell contains a digest of state laws , a summary of the laws of foreign countries, and the text of all uniform state laws.
This 20-volume set, located on Floor Three under call number KF/165/.A5/1980, is a compendium of all uniform acts drafted and recommended for adoption by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. This set is also available on microfiche.
The Restatements are a series of publications by the American Law Institute which attempts to state generally agreed-upon "best rules" as applied by courts in the United States. The Restatements are located on floor three with the other materials on that topic. A set of Restatements is also available on microfiche. Check COLUMBO for a specific Restatement title. The Restatements constitute a summary of the common law on a number of legal subjects. Most topics are in a second series. For those which have not yet been published in a second series, tentative drafts of the work in progress have been published, and can be found in the microfiche collection.
Form books are intended as aids in drawing up legal documents. The law library has a large collection of form books located on Floor Three under KF/170 for office forms and KF/8900 for court forms.
Looseleaf services are valuable sources of current information in specialized areas of law and are updated frequently. There are two major types of looseleaf services. One type contains current awareness articles of recent developments, summaries of cases and abstracts of new legislation in a particular field of law. Most of the publications of the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) are of this type. The second type is a more comprehensive service containing cases, statutes,rules, regulations, editorial comments and notes in a special subject area. Commerce Clearing House (CCH) is a major publisher of this type of looseleaf topical reporter. Looseleaf services are located on Floor Three under the subject area which it concerns. COLUMBO, the law library's online catalog, is the best guide to what looseleaf services the library carries and where they are located. Please ask the library staff for help locating appropriate looseleafs.


 Lexis and  Westlaw  are full text, online, interactive, computer-assisted systems for legal research. The legal information accessible through these research services is organized into libraries or databases, each of which is a collection of materials for specific jurisdictions or specific areas of law. Specialized libraries are available for subject areas, such as Family Law, Securities, Trade Regulation, etc. These libraries contain court cases, administrative rules and decisions, and other documents pertaining to the particular subject area. Students are issued passwords for Lexis, Westlaw and Loislaw. All of these research services may be accessed in the library and from home via the Internet.
In addition to these comprehensive services, the law library subscribes to many electronic databases that can assist the researcher in specific types of legal research. The library provides access to electronic databases in specific subject areas. Check the Law Library's Online Databases page for a list of databases and for more information.